Susan Adams in Scientists and Research Aug 17, 2019 · 3 min read · 1.5K

An Insight into Depression: The Subtle Signs and Effects Most People Are Unaware Of

An Insight into Depression: The Subtle Signs and Effects Most People Are Unaware Of

Depression is not always easy to detect. Though there are many websites and blogs that provide information about depression, the condition does not always present itself as expected. Some of the most commonly highlighted symptoms of depression include lack of interests in the activities that a person used to enjoy, prolonged sadness, and loss of hope. However, there times when this condition and its symptoms become subtler and identifying it becomes harder.

For instance, it’s easy to assume that a person became an addict after continued use of an addictive substance for recreational purpose while the fact is that depression led them to substance abuse. Such individuals can get better assistance by seeking treatment in best dual diagnosis treatment centers instead of typical hospitals. Dual diagnosis is relatively new in the addiction recovery field. In the past, people with depression and other mental health disorder symptoms underwent separate treatment from those seeking help with alcohol or drug abuse.

When the conditions overlapped, patients were denied mental illness treatment until they got sober and clean. Unfortunately, this meant that individuals with dual diagnosis of mental disorders and addiction didn’t get proper help since substance abuse is sometimes driven by underlying psychiatric disorders like depression.

Depression and Addiction Treatment

Addiction and depression have a bidirectional relationship. Depressed individuals have a higher chance of experiencing substance use problems. Addicts are at a higher risk of having depression. Most depressed individuals abuse drugs or alcohol trying to escape the feelings of misery or guilt while others do so to boost self-esteem or mood.

Nevertheless, alcohol and drugs with depressant properties are capable of escalating lethargy or sadness. As such, the use of substances as a way to change negative feelings can eventually become a cycle. This can hinder the ability of an individual to seek effective treatment for depression. That’s why a dual diagnosis rehab is the best option for individuals suspected to have co-occurring conditions.

People with depression and substance use disorder receive specialized and customized treatment after undergoing dual diagnosis. This specialized treatment makes management of both disorders possible while boosting rehab effectiveness and improving symptoms.

A depressed person can seek mental illness treatments like therapy and medication. However, they may notice that drinking numbs the feeling. This can make them inclined to using alcohol whenever they feel depressed. Thus, they may avoid evidence-based treatment for their condition. Unfortunately, this can have negative effects for individuals that are already undergoing treatment.

For instance, a patient can think that recreational use of alcohol or an addictive substance works better than medicine and therapy thereby halting doctor visits or use of the prescribed treatment. Unfortunately, substance use creates other depression symptoms making treatment of individuals without completing a detoxification program difficult.

For long-term recovery to be achieved and maintained, a comprehensive depression and substance abuse treatment program is required.

How Depression Manifests Itself

About a third of adults with substance use disorder have depression too. Among the individuals suffering from recurring depression, about 16.5% of them suffer from alcohol use disorder while 18% of them suffer from a drug use disorder. But because symptoms of drug use can imitate those of depression, diagnosing depression in persons that are actively using drugs is often difficult. What’s more, depression tends to have a different look depending on the individual that experiences it. Although some people can exhibit recognizable signs like low mood and fatigue, others tend to be angrier and more irritable.

Other ways depression manifests itself include:

  • Sleep pattern changes
  • Appetite changes
  • Lacking interest in activities that were previously interesting
  • Feelings of despair or guilt
  • Difficulties concentrating
  • Lacking energy
  • Suicidal thoughts

Fortunately, there are dual diagnosis treatment facilities that offer comprehensive treatment for both substance use disorder and depression. So, instead of drinking to numb the bad feelings associated with depression, patients should seek treatment in these facilities.

Recovering from Addiction and Depression

It’s apparent that dual diagnosis is not easy to treat. That’s because one disorder tends to intensify the other’s symptoms. For instance, excessive consumption of alcohol won’t make depression better. Actually, it can make depression more serious. Conversely, an alcoholic might not attain a proper mindset for overcoming alcoholism due to depression.

Thus, treating dual diagnosis individuals has a high complexity level. What’s more, people with dual diagnosis can’t get quality care in a one-dimensional, traditional rehab program. It’s only programs or long-term dual diagnosis treatment centers that are designed to handle psychiatric conditions and substance use disorder can help such individuals. That’s because they provide proper detox and counseling as well as aftercare.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recommends an integrated plan that incorporates the following goals:

· Teaching the patient about the possibility of recovering from addiction and depression

· Enabling the patient to understand depression and its nature

· Motivating the patient to make changes in their life

· Equipping clients with the practical skills they need to handle negative thoughts

· Helping clients to identify the behavior patterns they need to change for them to recover

Medication therapy forms an important aspect of recovery for most people with depression and addiction. However, finding an effective approach when it comes to pharmacological treatment requires patience and time. But, it’s possible to get effective prescription medication with the help of qualified dual diagnosis treatment professionals.

Encouragement, support, and motivation are also important for people recovering from depression and substance use disorder. Clinical depression tends to drain energy and make sufferers feel like undergoing rehabilitation is not a worthy cause. Peer group, individual counseling, and family counseling can provide the strength that a person needs to continue the recovery journey regardless of the challenges they face.

The Bottom Line

Depression is commonly characterized by emotionally low moments that don’t go away easily. However, this condition manifests itself in different ways among sufferers. For people with substance addiction, depression might be difficult to diagnose because of the overlapping symptoms of the two conditions. That’s why inpatient dual diagnosis treatment facilities are the best option for people suspected to have both conditions. These facilities provide treatment for depression and addiction simultaneously. That way, the patient recovers from depression and substance use disorder safely and effectively.



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John Macoviak Sep 26, 2019 · #2

Great article, thank you for sharing!

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Kevin Baker Aug 17, 2019 · #1

Well done, most enjoyable read. For myself the indicator of my depression was not expressing anger when I should be.

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